I managed to get to Comic Con twice on Thursday. In the morning, when things started up and it was relatively quiet, and around 5pm, when things had heated up some. By far the worst part of the day was the phone call I received from Gene when I was 30 seconds from the booth. "You're going to hate yourself for not having been here," he said. I knew immediately I had missed one of my idols. It turns out it was John Cassaday of Planetary and Astonishing X-Men fame. He had stopped by to say Hi and say how much he had enjoyed our Astonishing tribute strip last year. Sigh. Maybe it's just as well. Melting into a fanboy puddle on the floor in front of one of my favorite artists wouldn't have been much good for my self-esteem.
We sold a lot of stuff today. Compared to last year our new location (and our increased readership) is definitely making a difference. By tomorrow evening the crowd will be thick and Saturday it will be a giant chaotic mess. And since we're already well ahead of last year's pace that bodes well for this, our third ComicCon as an exhibitor.
Meanwhile I'm preparing for the WebComics School panel I'm moderating tomorrow (6-7pm in Room 4!). Said preparation began with a night out drinking with my coworkers, so I'll surely be at my best by tomorrow night. I'm glad I started my outline a few days ago. I just hope tomorrow I remember what it is I do. I think it has something to do with books. Maybe I edit an encyclopedia?
Today I spent most of the day at Comic Con. I truly love selling our books, and today we sold a lot of them. The morning was slow - we didn't sell anything for over an hour - then picked up. By the end of the day we had a new Overdue Media Comic Con daily record in revenue and, more importantly, books sold. Our book/shirt bundle is moving a lot of product, and we feel good about that because our goal at Comic Con is to introduce the book to new (non-librarian) readers. I think we are succeeding. We also met a lot of fans. Many more than last year. We are clearly better-known and more widely read, and that is very satisfying.
The technical conference I've been attending ended this morning, and I brought some friends over to Comic Con. We walked the exhibit floor - still possible on a Friday morning - and I enjoyed their reactions to this unique phenomenon. My friend Pam was due to meet a friend of hers, a software tycoon, and so he met us there and bought a book and shirt from us, thus putting us in that rare category of cartoonists who have sold a book to a billionaire.
As the day wore on I grew more and more nervous about my panel. Though I have done lots of public speaking, the first and only other time I have ever moderated a panel was at Bumbershoot several years ago. But I shouldn't have worried - it went very well. First of all, it was PACKED - standing room only in a space that's supposed to hold 280. In addition to planned speakers Jonathan Rosenberg, Ted Slampyak, Dave Kellett, and Kristopher Straub we had a couple of walk-ons: Scott Kurtz and David Willis. We allowed ourselves to run over time and there were several spirited (and often hillarious) discussions. I think it was a valuable session for the attendees. I know I learned some useful things, especially Scott Kurtz's cool approach to getting character sizes right. I'm totally stealing that. The panelists are all super nice and very funny. More importantly, they all want to move webcomics forward. Hopefully this helped. Can't wait for tomorrow's session, which begins at 4pm.
Gene and I are negotiating hard about tomorrow's Serenity panel. I've yet to miss a Joss Whedon panel, but he'd like to see it and since he's covering for my panel it's not really fair to make him run the booth all afternoon. Cloning may be indicated.